Facts about seasonal flu

Flu is a common infectious viral illness spread by coughs and sneezes that affects the respiratory system. Flu – short for influenza – is especially common in winter, which is why it’s also known as “seasonal flu”.

Because flu is caused by viruses and not bacteria, antibiotics won’t treat it. Flu is caused by a different virus than the common cold. A cold appears gradually and people are generally able to carry on with the rest of their day while feeling unwell. A bad bout of flu generally feels much worse and will make an individual feel unwell and too exhausted to carry on with their daily routine. Flu can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death among vulnerable groups including older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.

How to prevent flu

Having the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent catching flu and eligible people should have should have it every year as the flu virus is always changing. Good hand hygiene can help prevent people catching flu and from passing it onto others. It’s recommended people carry tissues and use them to catch coughs or sneezes, bin the used tissues as soon as possible and then wash their hands to kill the germs.

What are the first signs of flu?

Flu symptoms generally come on very quickly and can include:

• A sudden fever – a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above

• Dry, chesty cough


• Tiredness or exhaustion

• Chills

• Aching body

• Diarrhoea or tummy pain

• Nausea or being sick

• Sneezing

• Loss of appetite

• Difficulty sleeping

• Limb or joint paint

How to treat flu

If there are no underlying health conditions like asthma, liver disease, diabetes or heart disease, the easiest way for someone to treat flu symptoms is by:

  • Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower temperature and treat aches and pains
  • Drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration (urine should be light yellow or clear)
  • Resting and sleeping well
  • Keeping warm


Those with flu symptoms should avoid visiting GP surgeries and hospitals, where they may infect other more vulnerable people, and use pharmacists as a first port of call.

For more infromation please contact 0151-203-6535 or email pharmacy@clearchemist.co.uk.

Those with an underlying health condition who think they have flu, should contact NHS 111 online or by phone